There is something truly disconcerting about a one-ton beast staring down your vehicle from a mere yard away. He stands there, feet planted firmly upon the dirt road and head cocked to one side, his massive horns tilted like a pair of sharpened goalposts set askew after a rowdy collegiate victory, and you are forced to confront your own shallow materialism. Because rather than reacting rationally with a measure of concern for your personal safety, you are instead preoccupied with a silent plea: Please don't hurt my car.
The creature lumbers forward toward your window, which you have left down because you have already become addicted to the thrill of witnessing large animal heads poke into your car in search of grain pellets and carrots. Like a trained dog, that is all this immense quadruped is really after - a treat. Yet he cannot insert his gigantic head very far into your vehicle, as those enormous horns will not allow it. You hear them clatter and scrape against the roof, and as you reach for a carrot, you repeat your prayerful mantra: Please don't hurt my car.
Bring back these two wonderfully corny attractions, and I'll make a beeline for Sandusky.
Amusement park season is arriving soon in Ohio, and I am less than excited. The perennial allure of Cedar Point and Kings Island, which bookend our stoically Midwestern state to the north and south like a pair of Mad magazines bracketing a law library, will surely attract the usual stream of thrill seekers and families in search of a summer diversion. Local media will carry the customary publicity puffery touting the heights and speeds of each park's marquee roller coasters, and we shall be further enticed by breathless promises of all that is NEW for 2010! I don't begrudge anyone the pleasure of giddy anticipation, but I cannot muster much enthusiasm.
It wasn't always this way. There was a time when I looked forward to a day at either of our big amusement parks with the same measure of excitement that was provoked by the imminence of my birthday or the arrival of Christmas. Actually, now that I think about it, that remains the case today, as I no longer get worked up about my birthday or Christmas. But there was a time - and I'm sure you can accurately identify it - when all three of these events represented the pinnacle of fun and enjoyment.